Women Group Creates Awareness on HIV/AIDS and Leadership

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Monrovia – Cllr. Zeor Daylue Bernard, Advisor of Association of Female Lawyers in Liberia (AFELL) said persistent non-support cases have overwhelmed courts’ docket, adding that if not tackle this would lead to many women and children abandonment.

Cllr. Bernard was speaking at the first launch of Young Women’s Leadership forum, an event for young women and girls organized by Girls Education and Empowerment Initiative (GEEI)and partners.

She said men abandoning their spouse should interest respective institutions in the country so that measures will be put in place to reduce the increase of persistent non-support cases at the Ministry of Gender, AFELL, Women and Children, and Judiciary.

The forum brought together female leaders and activists including Cornelia Kruah-Togba who urged females to take charge of their bodies.

Kruah-Togba, a female candiate in the Montserrado County’s District 13 female said it is time that females know their values. She, at the same time, encouraged them to “carry themselves properly” so as to be seen as models for younger females.

“Look in yourself and see how you can grow to be a model to other women, the decision to be great lies in you,” she said, based on the theme, ‘Don’t be afraid to fall’ and then urged women to take a risk so as to improve their lives.

The forum highlighted topics on Adolescent Sexual, Reproductive Health, and Rights, Sexual & Gender Based Violence, HIV/AIDS, Leadership among others.

Gwendolyn Wilson, Executive Director of GEEI, said the forum grew out of a desire to see more young women represented in leadership roles at every level. 

This desire is not just about inspiring young women to step up as leaders, but also about encouraging women to use their voice and share their stories. 

“It is dedicated to both personal inspiration and practical application, bringing together people in all stages of their careers for this forum,” Myers said.

GEEI was established in late 2017, is a  feminist non-partisan and not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing educational opportunities for children and young women from deprived communities and empowering them to step up as leaders of change in Liberia.

The group works on programs relevant to Adolescent Sexual, Reproductive Health & Rights, Child Abandonment, Sexual & Gender-Based Violence, Girls Education, HIV/AIDS, and self-help activities for young and single mothers. 

It develops and implements programs that affect situations for women, girls, and children through policy advocacy, empowerment and educational opportunities for disadvantaged girls to enable them to reach their full potential. 

Myers said although some progress has been made in uplifting women’s lives in Liberia, a lot needs to be done to overcome cultural, economic and health burdens allowed by most young and elderly women in the country.

“We cannot sit and discuss any national social issues without considered HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Girls Education, Female Genital Mutilation, and all forms of violence against women and girls,” she said.

She continues, “There is no time more critical than now. Because if we cannot address it now than when?  If it is not us, then who?”

Gwendolyn furthered that young women have a critical role to play in addressing these issues because “we are the direct victims and our voices must be heard and listen to”.

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